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Dana White Labels Heel Hooks as “1998 Sh*t”

UFC President Dana White had a lot to say after the conclusion of last weekend’s lineup in London for UFC on Fuel 7. Addressing a group of media members after the press conference had wrapped up, White spoke in particular about a technique considered to be one of the most dangerous in MMA and, in his opinion, one of the least effective.

White’s comments came in relation to an undercard bout between Paul Sass-Danny Castillo where the latter was given a round despite Sass attempting a number of Heel Hooks. The submission specialist never pulled one off and ultimately ended up losing a decision.

“You’ve gotta go for damage,” replied White when asked for his thoughts on the scoring. “F*cking heel hook? I haven’t seen somebody pull a heel hook off in a long time. It’s 1998 sh*t. You ain’t pulling off heel hooks like you used to.”

“Probably the last one was that f*cking tank from Brazil, Rousimar Palhares. And still, when you go for that sh*t you get your head smashed in,” he concluded.

Interestingly enough, Sass actually beat Michael Johnson with the feared finisher in October 2011 and has two other wins on his record resulting from heel hooks. While the technique is certainly difficult to pull off, there aren’t many holds more effective at eliciting a tap.


MMATraining Take: Though heel hooks are fairly rare in high-level MMA, as are other submissions like Omoplatas, doesn’t mean fighters shouldn’t go for them. If an opening is there, take it, especially when it showcases BJJ as being more than simply Triangles, Guillotines, and Armbars. A heel hook can be as deadly as a perfectly placed overhand right, even more so because of the damage it can dish out. And really, why discourage guys going for Submission of the Nights anyways?

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